Review of Secret Symphony by Katie Melua
You may remember a while back we reviewed the single ‘The Walls of the World’ by British singer/songwriter Katie Melua. We really liked the single so we thought it would be a good plan to check out her album. Now we normally think we are relatively on point in terms of new music, however we must have missed this. ‘Secret Symphony’ was released back in March but it seems without much fanfare.
As with the single ‘Secret Symphony’ is written with an embrace to good old fashioned music. Music, when the lyrics were created from the soul and the music etched from the artist’s experience. Perfectly mapped on to each other. ‘Secret Symphony’ avoids much of the traps modern music falls in to and that is what makes the material something special. Equally, it is probably the reason the critics have largely ignored what is a brilliant release.
For her latest album, Katie Melua embraces songs old and new, cleverly chosen and winningly sung. She makes each song her very own, so much so that one wouldn’t know that her cover versions hadn’t been written for her. She is ably assisted by Mike Batt, whose long experience as a songwriter and producer is evident.
If evidence of this was needed then listen to ‘Nobody Knows When Youre Down and Out’. The track plays homage to to the theme of the transitory status of wealth. The track dates back to 1923 entrenched in New Orleans heritage. Whilst the track doesn’t try to emulate the roots of the track it does play sensitively to the original with a great tuba undertone providing a great bassline. Melua handles the lyrics beautifully and is an understated reflection.
Throughout ‘Secret Symphony’ Katie Melua shows off her understanding and craft as a singer. The optimism within the feel of the album is heightened by her youthful voice. The majority of tracks are reflections of the original compositions and overall the album has a great flow.
Some other highlights include the opener ‘Gold In Them Hills’ and ‘Heartstrings’ both lovely renditions and tracks you would like to hear whatever the mood. There are few, if any, low points to this album. The main one is that it jsut isn’t long enough. Yes it is relaxing, but to call it easy listening wouldn’t do it justice. Whilst it hasn’t set the charts on fire and not captured the minds of the majority of mainstream critics this is a great album.
Go out and get it from whatever shop you buy your music from or download it from your favourite online music platform. Just give it a chance.